UV 2812/10000 The Strength-Weakness Pattern
That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
Judges 16 v 17
Every human being is a composite of a strength-weakness pattern which in turn gives rise to our success-failure pattern. The modern Gallup poll- based Marcus Buckingham type of strengths alone matter approach is a partial truth if not a falsehood. There is a strength-weakness pattern of character, intellect, physique, emotions and of our wills. There are some things we can do so easily that we assume that we cannot be defeated in this area. Our strengths lull and dull us into complacency to rest in the lap of the enemy even as Samson rested the very source of his strength in the lap of Delilah. Every strength has a corresponding weakness. There is an interaction between our strengths and weaknesses and these do not operate in separate silos. An attribute of physical or intellectual strength might turn out to be a source of spiritual weakness or failure. If we are multi-talented and extremely able, we might tend to be overconfident and our overconfidence could lead to our destruction as it happened to Samson. Most of the follies, foibles and personal tragedies of leaders are due to an inability to address their strength-weakness pattern. Strength-weakness patterns affect relationships at home, in marriages, between parents and children and in the workplace. No strength or weakness is to be handled in isolation or as if it is absolute and unchallenged. The story of Samson who was endowed as a supernatural gift with immense physical strength is in truth your story and mine. While we take pride in our strengths, we hide our weaknesses instead of recognizing these as early as possible and take the help of the Lord to overcome these weaknesses and to obtain the grace to wear our strength lightly. Our weaknesses are meant to balance our strengths so that we do not become demi-gods unto ourselves. These weaknesses are meant to increase our reliance on God. Samson’s mission in life was to redeem Israel from the Philistines but he could not redeem himself. He gave in to the desires of his flesh and revealed his secret to Delilah after many failed attempts. He thought himself invincible and relied on his own strength. The secret of Samson’s strength lay in something external like his braids of hair that were uncut from the time he was dedicated to the Lord as a child. The secret of our strength should lie only in the Lord such that it cannot be taken away. Our fellowship with the Spirit of the Lord should be uncut or unbroken for we derive all of our strength and joy from Him. Indeed, the joy of the Lord is our strength. The enemy wants to shave us of our strengths while the Lord wants to save us from our weaknesses. Sometimes, a failure is sent our way to level out our pride or confidence in our flesh or strength.
History and human experience records that whenever an individual is endowed with too much beauty, brains, power, strength or wealth, it becomes the cause of much sorrow in that individual’s life for one reason or other. The so-called sporting icons of today like Tiger Woods fell to the temptations of a high profile life and became addicted to sex on the sidelines of their lives under the spotlights. The common enemy of our souls uses our strength to try to destroy our peace, our future, our faith and our hope. He waits for a weak moment to target us in our areas of weakness. He also targets what we rest our greatest confidence in. The Lord is our shield, our strength and salvation in such circumstances. What we need in human life is not great and overwhelming strength or resources but a true and invincible Redeemer. Jesus redeems us not only from sin, death and judgement but also from our personal weaknesses as we submit or yield to Him.
We need to thank the Lord for our strengths and gifts, natural and supernatural but we should not lay too much store with these. Our strengths can be the cause of our failure if we take these too seriously. Neither should we hide our weaknesses or hide from our weaknesses but identify these and rely on the Lord’s grace to overcome these weaknesses. As Paul wrote we should glory in our weaknesses for these are the gaps or openings in our lives through which the Lord’s grace is poured. We cannot boast of our wisdom, strength, power or gifts but we can boast only about Christ in us and with us. As we humble ourselves and submit both our strengths and weaknesses to the Lord as the clay with which He can shape something marvellous and miraculous, He will create amazing results in all aspects of our lives. When our earthly foes disguise themselves as friends and admirers and pester us to know the secret of our strength, we should only point to the Lord and not to our natural or supernatural gifts, resources, abilities, talents.
Prateep V Philip